Spanish stress and intonation (A2)

In this post, we are going to learn which syllable to stress. First, notice that all words can be broken up into syllables (except monosyllables). These are the different sounds that words are broken up into, and one of them must be stressed. Here the stressed syllable is shown underlined.

PA-LA-BRA, ÚL-TI-MO – RE-LOJ – ES-TA-CIÓN

There are some very simple rules to help you to remember which part of the word to stress in Spanish, and when to write an accent.

Words don’t have a written acute accent if they follow the normal stress rules for Spanish. If they do not follow the normal stress rules, they do need an accent. Let’s see these rules.

Spanish stress rules

Giving the right stress to each word will help you very much to improve your pronunciation and be easy to understand, so pay attention to these simple rules:

  • Words ending in a vowel or “n” or “s” are stressed on the second-to-last syllable: casa, coche, libro, hermanos, escriben…
  • Words ending in a consonant other than “n” or “s” are stressed on the last syllable: beber, ciudad, papel, reloj
  • Any words that deviate from the two previous rules have an accent over the stressed vowel: café, estación, so, dicil, piz, tefono…

Agudas, graves or esdrújulas

1. If a word has the stress in the last syllable is called AGUDA: ayer, animal, feliz, cantar, estación, ratón, alemán

2. If a word has the stress in the second-to-last (penultimate) syllable is called GRAVE: domingo, ensalada, cuchara, abuelo, lar, árbol, versátil, ortografía…

3. If a word has the stress in the antepenultimate syllable is called ESDRÚJULA: tefono, lula, gina, brócoli, gico, pecula, oano…

In this chart, you have a recap.

Spanish stress and accents

Stress in Spanish Exercises

Let’s practices what we have learned about how to stress Spanish word with this exercise, although the import is that you practice with your tutor reading and you pay attention when you are listening. Anyway, remember you can contact your tutor with any question you have. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet?

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